The purpose of Baha'i study circles is to provide participants with the knowledge, spiritual insights, and skills to enable them to contribute to the betterment of society, starting with their own neighbourhood. This is done through systematic study of a sequence of courses based on the Baha'i Writings using the courses of the Ruhi Institute. The word 'ruhi' means 'spirit'. The study circles of the Ruhi Institute are non-dogmatic and are open to the entire community.
For example, the first book in the Ruhi Institute sequence is called 'Reflections on the Life of the Spirit'. It examines spiritual matters such as prayer, meditation, life and death and the development of the soul. A brief description of each can be found here. The same Ruhi Institute study circles are held all around the United States and the world and all persons are invited to participate.
You are invited to take inspiration from the Baha'i teachings, benefiting from whatever gems of wisdom and knowledge will help you to address the challenges you face. Study circles are held in an uplifting environment conducive to the spiritual empowerment of the participants who come to see themselves as active agents of their own learning.
The role of the study circle facilitator is not to impart knowledge, but to assist discussion. Study circles feature participatory learning, involving discussion with others and the use of the arts, practices which reinforce the material learned, and activities designed to take what has been learned and pass it on to others in the community. These activities include children's classes, junior youth groups, devotional gatherings, home visits, and becoming a tutor of new study circles. This is what is called 'community building'.
Children' Classes help the children to be caring, supportive, and helpful contributors to humanity. There are several children's classes for different age groups and are open to all. Classes are based on a attribute of the human spirit such as forgiveness, courtesy, and helping others. Songs, memorization, stories, games, and coloring pictures are all ways these higher spiritual principles are taught. Building civilized and peaceful communities starts with the children. This is the activity from Ruhi Book 3.
Junior Youth Groups
Junior Youth Empowerment classes are offered to middle school students ages (11 -14). Theses classes help the junior youth/pre-teen to mature and expand their talents to help them navigate through a crucial stage in their lives when they start making decisions on their own. These classes also teach them, through the written materials and actual service activities they plan themselves, the importance of being of service to the community. The facilitators of these junior youth groups are called 'animators' and while anyone can become an animator, young adults who are close in age and in experience with the junior youth are especially encouraged to embark on this path of service to your community. This is the activity from Ruhi Book 5.
The heart of a devotional meeting is the sharing of prayers and passages from Holy Scriptures but beyond this there is no set form. Devotional meetings are a chance for us to learn how to create an uplifting, spiritual atmosphere. In addition to prayer and other scriptural writings this often involves music and the arts. The key is to help clear our minds from the anxieties of our daily lives and to meditate on our higher purpose. You are welcome to join a devotional meetings near you, and to simply sit, meditate and enjoy the atmosphere, or to play a more active role in hosting or organizing one. This is the activity from Ruhi Book 1.
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